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Full-size Lego car actually drives

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(Credit: Josh Rowe/Super Awesome Micro Project)

A car built almost entirely of Legos can reach speeds of 12-17 miles per hour running on an engine powered by air.

By Michell Starr, CNET

One of the first things every young Lego builder attempts is a vehicle of some kind; all you need is a flat tile piece and four wheel pieces and you're off.

Raul Oaida, a 20-year-old Romanian Lego genius, is just a little more ambitious. He's built a full-scale Lego hot rod that actually drives (although at a relatively slow pace, 12-17 mph, thanks to the fragility of the construction).

The project began in April 2012 -- not long after Oaida launched a Lego shuttle into space -- when Oaida's partner, Melbourne-based entrepreneur Steve Sammartino, reached out via Twitter and raised tens of thousands of dollars (PDF) from 40 fellow entrepreneurs to fund the project.

Dubbed the Super Awesome Micro Project, it took 20 months to complete, from conception and design all the way through to the finished product. More than 500,000 pieces were used in its construction, with only a few structural bits and pieces used, such as tires, wheels, and gauges. The engine contains four orbital engines consisting of 256 pistons, running on compressed air.

Oaida, who recently received his Australian visa, built the car in Romania and had it shipped to a secret location in Melbourne, Australia, for its test drive on the suburban streets. Some damage did occur during shipping, but Oaida was able to make repairs, in spite of some of the pieces warping due to changing temperatures.

"I built it once, so I knew I could fix anything that would be broken on it," Oaida said.

Oaida and Sammartino are, for the time being, done with Lego, but they're certainly not done working together on projects. Stay tuned to Oaida's and Sammartino's Twitter feeds to stay in the loop, and check out the Super Awesome Micro Project Web site for more info on the car.

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